Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Great Grocery Project: February Recap

This month has been crazy.  I have to be honest and say I have been getting a little down about money this month.  We have just had so many unexpected expenses relating to our unplanned (but necessary) renovation.  However, I realized the best medicine for this little downtime is to reassess all the finances, recognize what we are doing well (hurray!), and identify where we can improve.  So here we go.

In February, we spent $408.03 on groceries.  Let's break this down a little bit:
At the end of the month, we were out of a number of key pantry supplies (olive oil, maple syrup, running low on flour, etc.).  I knew that I had a $71 cheque from Ebates that I was planning to use towards these purchases, but I also knew that going to Costco to get the supplies for the months ahead would significantly raise our grocery spend for the month.  Prior to the stock up on items I needed, we had only spent $230.00 on groceries for the month.  Very reasonable.  Anyway, after sitting around for a few days I realized that my waiting was silly.  The whole point of doing this project over a full year is so I can average out what we spend each month.  So off to Costco I went with my cash from the Ebates cheque in hand.  If you consider the Ebates money I used, our cash output on groceries this month was $338.00.  

What did we buy this month?
I've realized we have a drinking problem.  Not alcohol, but beverages.  We used to only drink milk or water, with the occasional orange juice purchase.  Then, when I was pregnant I was having severe cramps in my legs and my doctor suggested drinking tonic water every day.  Tonic water is gross so I was mixing it with other juices in order to drink it without gagging.  I developed several infections at the end of my pregnancy, and in an effort to prevent getting a bladder infection after birth I was also drinking a fair bit of cranberry juice.  These little drink habits continued.....to the point where last month I spent $58.00 on drinks.  Whoa!  That is way, way too much.  Going forward, I am limiting the beverages purchases (outside of milk) to $10.00 MAX.  This will still allow me to purchase the occasional orange juice or Pure Leaf Iced Tea (which I love).

We spent $89.71 on produce this month, largely because we bought a Vitamix (which I will devote an entire post to later) and we were experimenting with some different recipes.

We spent $4.70 on meat.  I used all meat and fish we had in our freezer, except for purchasing two Reduced for Quick Sale chicken breasts one day.  They were preseasoned and delicious.  My husband took one to work for his lunch one day, and I used the other one for two meals.  I made a chicken sandwich for lunch, and a chicken salad for dinner (and shared both meals with my three year old).

My plan for the next three months (March, April, May) is to use as much as our supplies as I can.  When June rolls around the fresh Ontario crops will start becoming available and I will be able to plant out garden in mid-May or early June depending on the weather.

What did we eat this month?
This month we ate lots of chili, turkey, ground beef and pasta with homemade sauce, homemade pizza (more about this in the Vitamix post soon to come), smoothies, quiche (I usually buy eggs for $1.77 a dozen at Shoppers Drug Mart), salads, and frozen fish.

How did we save money this month?
I was very careful with the grocery spending this month.

1.  I used a $71.00 Ebates cheque towards the purchase of pantry supplies from Costco.

2.  I redeemed $85.00 worth of Shoppers Optimum points on a bonus redemption today.  This was used to purchase diapers.  Lots of diapers.

3.  Over the weekend, I spent $90.00 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  However, I had a $25.00 gift card I received for my birthday so I spent $65.00 cash.  Due to a promotion they were offering, I received a $10.00 voucher to use in store at a later date, a $10.00 voucher that can be used at several area restaurants, and a $10.00 voucher for the online BeautyBoutique.ca.  $30.00 in gift cards is a pretty good deal - especially because I have special plans for all of these cards that I will write about as I use them.  If you live in Canada, the $10.00 Beauty Boutique promotion is still on - you can get the card when making a purchase at a Shoppers Drug Mart in store.  The promotion is while supplies last.

4.  I redeemed some of my points through Pampers Rewards to order a $10.00 diaper voucher.  I am going to do the same redemption again next month.

5.  While ordering some books online (with a gift card someone gave me), I noticed two books I thought my father would love for Father's Day were steeply discounted.  I ordered them at excellent prices and through Ebates.

Goals for next month: Absolutely slash the beverage purchases and use as much from our pantry and freezer as possible.


  1. We all have months like that. It sounds like you did a great job stretching your ebates money and other gift cards, etc. to get what you needed.

    We, also, are on a crusade to use up things in our freezers, canning cupboards, and stockpile. It's time to do that to make room for garden produce, and there is never too much money in my hand, should we be able to save any extra while doing this:)

    It does take more effort, though. I've already spent the last week boiling "mystery" frozen meat (turned out to be a drumstick and thigh from a turkey, making casseroles and soup from that broth and meat, using a gallon can of crushed tomatoes I had been given about years ago, etc. It does feel good to target those kind of items. At this point, they are like free food to us, so I'm glad we are using and not wasting them.

    Hang in there!

    1. Thanks Becky! We are all just doing our best and in the end that will be good enough. :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the lovely comment. Congratulations on your new baby! I hope you have a nice long maternity leave and enjoy your time.
    I enjoyed reading your post and I will check back to see how March goes.
    I look forward to your wedding post, too!